Assessing the Effectiveness of Performance Appraisal Practices in MMDAs: A Case Study of STMA
Objectives of Study
The general objective of the study is to assess the effectiveness of the Performance Appraisal system in metropolitan municipal District Assemblies.
The specific objectives include:
- To assess employees’ perception of the appraisal system at STMA.
- To examine the objectives of performance appraisal at STMA.
- To assess the effectiveness of performance appraisal at STMA.
- To identify the challenges of performance appraisal at STMA
This chapter presents the theoretical framework and models that are relevant and suitable for the current study; and which will be applied and used to analyze collected data and information.
The Concept of Performance appraisal
Performance is an outcome, or result of an individual’s actions. An individual’s performance therefore becomes a function of ability and motivation (Ainsworth et al., 2002). Performance Assessment (also performance appraisal, evaluation, measurement) becomes a continual review of the job related task accomplishments or failures of the individuals within the organization. A major consideration in performance improvement involves the creation and use of performance measures or indicators; which are measurable characteristics of products, services, processes, and operations the company uses to track and improve performance.
Shelley (1999) describes performance appraisal as the process of obtaining, analyzing and recording information about the relative worth of an employee. The focus of the performance appraisal is measuring and improving the actual performance of the employee and also the future potential of the employee. Its aim is to measure what an employee does. Shelley again considers PA as a systematic way of reviewing and assessing the performance of an employee during a given period of time and planning for his future. It is a powerful tool to calibrate, refine and reward the performance of the employee. By focusing the attention on performance, performance appraisal goes to the heart of HR management and reflects the management’s interest in the progress of the employees.
Moats (1999) corroborate Shelley’s (1999) position and further add that performance appraisal is a process by which organizations evaluate employee performance based on preset standards. Moats describes the main purpose of appraisals as helping managers effectively staff companies and use human resources, and, ultimately, improving productivity. According to Moats when conducted properly, appraisals serve the purpose Shelley describes by: (1) showing employees how to improve their performance, (2) setting goals for employees, and (3) helping managers to assess subordinates’ effectiveness and take actions related to hiring, promotions, demotions, training, compensation, job design, transfers, and terminations.
The above expositions given by Moats and Shelley collectively establish performance appraisal as a clear and concise, regular and unbiased system of rating an employee’s performance in her current position, which can also be used to determine how far the employee can go in career development. The benchmarks of such an appraisal, according to Moats, are usually the job description in tandem with stated company objectives, and often includes rewards and incentives.
An organization engages a person for the purpose of employing his skills to achieve certain goals and objectives. Every so often, the employer needs to take stock and
determine the value of each employee, his potential, and what his future in the company is likely to be. In the researcher’s opinion this is accomplished through the practice of performance appraisal.
Moats (1999) explains that in the early part of the twentieth century performance appraisals were used in larger organizations mostly for administrative purposes, such as making promotions and determining salaries and bonuses. Since the 1960s, however, companies and researchers have increasingly stressed the use of employee evaluations for motivational and organizational planning purposes. Indeed, for many companies performance appraisal has become an important tool for maximizing the effectiveness of all aspects of the organization, from staffing and development to production and customer service (Moats, 1999).
As Moats puts it, that shift of focus was accompanied during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s by a number of changes in the design and use of appraisals. Those changes reflected new research and attitudes about organizational behavior and theory. Traditional appraisal systems were often closed, meaning that individuals were not allowed to see their own reports. Since the mid-1900s, most companies have rejected closed evaluations in favor of open appraisals that allow workers to benefit from criticism and praise.
Moats asserts further that another change in appraisal techniques since the mid-1900s has been a move toward greater employee participation. This includes self-analysis, employee input into evaluations, feedback, and goal setting by workers. Appraisal
systems have also become more results-oriented, which means that appraisals are more focused on a process of establishing benchmarks, setting individual objectives, measuring performance, and then judging success based on the goals, standards, and accomplishments.
Likewise, appraisals have become more multifaceted, incorporating a wide range of different criteria and approaches to ensure an effective assessment process and to help determine the reasons behind employees’ performance (Bodil, 1997).
Again, Moats State that performance appraisals and standards have also reflected a move toward decentralization. In other words, the responsibility for managing the entire appraisal process has moved closer to the employees who are being evaluated; whereas past performance reviews were often developed and administered by centralized human resources departments or upper-level managers, appraisals in the 1990s were much more likely to be conducted by line managers directly above the appraisee.
In this chapter the methodology of research is presented. The areas captured in this chapter are the research design, sources of data, population of the study, the sample size used for the study, the sample techniques used in selecting the respondents, the data collection tools and the data analysis techniques.
The research design is a framework for conducting business research (Malhotra, 2007). Thus it is the basic plan for conducting the data collection and analysis phase. The researcher used the descriptive research design in undertaking this study. According to Polit and Hungler (1995) descriptive survey is about describing, observing and documenting aspects of a situation as it is naturally. A descriptive study is one in which information is collected without changing the environment (i.e., nothing is manipulated). Sometimes these are referred to as “correlational” or “observational” studies.
Descriptive data are usually collected through questionnaires, interviews or observations. The justification for using the descriptive research design is that although the descriptive research does not fit neatly into the definition of either quantitative or qualitative research methodologies, it however has the ability to utilize elements of both within the same study. Again, it is appropriate for answering the ‘what’ and ‘why’ kind of research questions posed in the chapter one.
Sources of Data
The researcher collected data from primary sources. The primary data was collected through the use of questionnaires that will be administered by the researcher to staff of STMA being used for the study.
Primary data constitute original data collected from original sources. The respondents of the current study constitute the original sources from where the data were collected. It is primary because the data has not been used before.
Population of the study
A study population is a set of elements (or individuals, depending on the situation) with similar characteristics. Place, gender, age, sex, and special interests are examples of similar characteristics. The emphasis on the study population is that it is made up of homogeneous individuals or components (Udoyen, 2019). In this study, the study population constitute of the entire staff of Sekondi Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) in Takoradi involved which was estimated at 1,723 by the human resource department.
DATA PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSIONS OF FINDINGS
Chapter four contains a presentation and discussion of the research findings. Findings are analysed for the various objectives set. The analysis is done in the context of other empirical studies reviewed in the literature.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
This chapter covers the summary, conclusions and recommendations resulting from the discussions on the data gathered from the respondents of the study.
Summary of Findings
Demographic Characteristics of Respondents
The study revealed that about 52.5% of the respondents were male. It was therefore concluded that, the likelihood of a staff being a male is higher than the probability of being a female. Again, with respect to their age, it was found that majority of them were aged between 30 and 50 years. Regarding the number of years they had spent with the institution, about 62% had spent 10 years and above as staff of STMA.
Appraisal Systems and Procedures At STMA
The study found that the institution has in place an appraisal system, and this was largely acknowledged by all categories of respondents: junior and senior members. The study noted that there are key performance criteria that have been developed and clearly identified in the appraisal system. Findings showed that to a large extent the criteria have been developed in consultation with workers and appraisers. Further, respondents indicated general understanding and support from the various stakeholders on the institution’s appraisal system. Findings also revealed that largely, the necessary resources are available to implement an effective performance appraisal system in the institution.
Most respondents were very positive on whether the performance criteria have been extracted from an up-to-date job description.
The study revealed that there are sufficient preparation by the manager/supervisor and workers before the appraisal process is undertaken. Again, majority of the respondents indicated that the appraisal process is conducted fairly. Majority of the respondents further acknowledged that the appraisal interview is designed to be constructive. There was evidence to the effect that workers are encouraged to participate in discussions. It was also found that feedback to workers is usually not provided as reported by respondents. There was also evidence to suggest that there is regular review of progress towards goals.
Employees’ Perception of Performance Appraisal at STMA
The study found that most employees show cooperation in the appraisal process. Again, most staff believe that feedback reflects their performance. Further, most staff believe the appraisal system is relevant and do not consider the appraisal process a waste of time. Most employees indicated that they can relate the appraisal process to their personal development. The assertion that appraisal process is only used as a tool for victimizing some workers was not shared by respondents. This suggested that the process is conducted fairly and with the right intentions of rewarding performance and addressing weaknesses.
Challenges of Performance Appraisal At STMA
Key challenges identified included the following: it is time consuming and requires a lot of resources to undertake regular appraisal processes.
Effectiveness of Appraisal System At STMA
The study found that the appraisal system has helped developed staff professionally. Again, it was noted that the process has helped in identifying systematic factors that are barriers to effective performance. The evidence also suggested that the appraisal system to a large extent is able to validate the administrative decisions of the institution whilst also aiding the determination of orgamisational training and development needs of both junior and senior staff.
The study has examined the Effectiveness of appraisal system and practice of Sekondi Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) in Takoradi using respondents who were both junior and senior members from all the colleges of the university. Several findings were made and adequately discussed. Key among the findings was that the institution has in place an appraisal system with key performance criteria that have been developed and clearly identified. Effectively it came out that the process has helped in identifying systematic factors that are barriers to effective performance.
Competent appraisal of individual performance in an organization or company serves to improve the overall effectiveness of the entity. McGregor in Moats (1999) describes the three main functional areas of performance appraisal systems as: administrative, informative, and motivational. According to Addison-Wesley (2001), appraisals serve an administrative role by facilitating an orderly means of determining salary increases and other rewards, and by delegating authority and responsibility to the most capable individuals. Again, Moats says the informative function is fulfilled when the appraisal system supplies data to managers and appraisees about individual strengths and weaknesses.
It must also be emphasized that the uniformity of the appraisal structure is vital because it ensures that all employees are evaluated on a standardized scale. Appraisals that are not uniform are less effective because the criteria for success or failure become arbitrary and meaningless. Furthermore, uniformity allows a company to systematically compare the appraisals of different employees with each other.
The general conclusion therefore is that organisations should seriously consider methods and systems that would help them administer their appraisal process effectively so that the stated objectives will achievable and subsequently translate into the organisation’s performance.
Based on Findings and discussions the following are recommended:
The need to ensure that Performance Criteria is up to date
There is the need to ensure that performance criteria have been extracted from an up-to-date job description. This was identified in the case of STMA consistent with what has been suggested in the literature and need to be encouraged.
Need To Ensure Fairness In The Appraisal Process
The study observed although they were in the minority, some respondents doubted the fairness of the appraisal process in the university. To totally erase this impression, since it has the potential of affecting confidence in the system, there is the need to ensure that fairness is maintained in the appraisal process so that the necessary trust and cooperation will be forthcoming from staff.
The Need To Ensure Regular Feedback.
The study also identified feedback rate to be very low. This affects some of the objectives of instituting an appraisal system. Therefore, there is the need to ensure regular feedback. Failure to do this could affect staff interest in the process, as much as possible feedback should be given to staff on their performance.
The need to ensure effective supervision
Finally, one of the challenges that usually confront the implementation of an appraisal is the fact that some supervisors do not display the right attitude to help the process. Although this was not found with STMA, there is the need for supervisors to enhance the process by exhibiting the right attitude. This will go a long way to create the right enthusiasm among staff.
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